Transformational Stories of Change from 6 Global EMBA Alumni

Every year, CEIBS is delighted to open its doors to visitors interested in taking a closer look at what we have to offer before making that all-important course application. In December, CEIBS welcomed back six Global EMBA alumni to share their insights and experiences of the programme with an audience of prospective candidates. The following are just a few of the revealing insights that best explain the Global EMBA experience.

GEMBA new applicants welcome alumni panel

Embracing change and personal development

The panel started with each member giving a short personal introduction describing their current professional position and what had drawn them to undertake an Executive MBA. Each of the 6 alumni were drawn to CEIBS for different reasons and motivations. Even though their respective inspirations for taking on this significant academic commitment while holding such time-intensive, high-profile day jobs varied, there was a consistent theme running through their answers. Alongside seeking out specific knowledge relevant to their intended career paths, the group uniformly wanted to widen their perspectives on business as a whole and see what positive changes they could make in their professional lives.

 

Yan Hai 
​Jane Yan

R&D Head, Danone,
Global EMBA 2018

 

Two years ago, I chose to come here because I wanted to change. At the time I had a great job with Coca-Cola, which offered a good working environment, but I wanted to expand my scope and experience different things in business. That’s what the GEMBA gave me – the chance to look more at the big picture and better understand what I had to offer. I now work for Danone, a European firm, which has been an eye-opener in so many ways. That’s the benefit of getting outside your daily work experience and seeing what else is out there by learning from others. Now I’m part of a community of over 25,000 alumni, so if you want to expand your perspective and approach to business then you absolutely can at CEIBS.

 

Onur Turkmen
Onur Turkmen
Marketing Director, Beko China
Global EMBA 2016

The thing that drew me to CEIBS most is also what I benefit from most now: the active CEIBS network of amazing people from across the world and different industries. I had so much to learn from everyone during my studies and I continue to do so now. This goes for the CEIBS professors and your peers. What stuck with me is how the professors teach you that it’s not enough to know the answers to hypothetical problems and equations, you have to know what the answers to your questions actually mean in a wider business context. This is what I always remember, and I know I can always seek out greater meaning to answers by learning directly from others.

 

Diversity of the CEIBS Global EMBA class

The CEIBS’ annual intake of students is as diverse as its faculty members. Global EMBA students are chosen not purely for their academic ability or business success, but also for their ability to contribute different perspectives and experiences to the discourse of the programme. For this, diversity of age, gender, professional function and industry are all needed, not just diversity of nationality.

This diversity was highlighted as one of the significant benefits of the CEIBS experience for the alumni. Without exception, they valued the chance to step out of their own work bubble and be exposed to different perspectives, allowing them to see all manner of problems and strategies in a new light.

 

Xiao Zhi Jian
Zhijian Xiao
BeiGene BioPharma, Head of Quality China Operations
Global EMBA 2016

I took on a more global mindset here, because I learned so much by studying and working alongside people from all over the world. I had colleagues from Australia, Japan, the UAE, Senegal in my team at work, my CEIBS experience enabled me to build highly trusted team and gave me the confidence and ability to explore totally new areas of business. I came from a highly technical background based in quality control, but through the GEMBA I came to understand how wider business elements run both individually and as part of the greater organisational whole. I learned how to manage and more importantly, how to be an effective leader.

 

Onur Turkmen
Onur Turkmen
Marketing Director, Beko China
Global EMBA 2016

When you study the GEMBA, you don’t just get the knowledge from your professors, you learn a lot about yourself through your peers. The opening module is a big help in this regard, and I’d say that there is a consistent atmosphere of everyone actively trying to help each other throughout the programme. There is always a sense that you can go engage with your classmates, whatever their background; that’s partly due to the way the course is set up and partly because of the great experiences like the global modules that bring you closer together as classmates and friends.

 

Shi Gui Xian
Shirley Shi
Global CFO, Carrefour Global Sourcing
Global EMBA 2017

From the very beginning, you know that this course is different. The opening module is so useful for letting you get to know your peers and start off in a very open, inclusive and collaborative way. It’s eight days long and often quite intense with lots of hands-on games and activities. The focus is on leadership and team building, so you get a good sense of your classmates right away as you work through challenges together, and it lets you build your friendships and working relationships from there. After just eight days you already know a lot of very different, highly talented people quite well, which is the best possible start to your studies.

 

GEMBA Global participants graphic of countries
*Data from Global EMBA 2020

 

Fitting everything into a busy schedule

While the alumni were happy to point out that they all had a lot of fun on the programme, they also described how the Global EMBA is a significant and rigorous academic programme, one that requires both dedication and diligent time management.

 

Each GEMBA student will cover a rigorous academic programme made up of 11 compulsory Core Modules, as well as tailoring their course by choosing from over 35 Local and Global Electives. Participants can choose to follow either a Single Module Track – taking core modules once per month for four days – or the Double Module Track, which takes core modules once every two months for nine days.

 

Shi Gui Xian
Shirley Shi
Global CFO, Carrefour Global Sourcing
Global EMBA 2017

It’s designed to help you work the way that’s best for you. As executives, CEIBS knows that we have a lot going on in our day jobs, so they make the programme flexible to let us fit everything in successfully. You get a lot of choice regarding your modules, the locations you’re interested in and so on – and the Single/Double Module Track* options mean you have the ability to align your day job and your studies and still have a life!

 

Sebastian Maling
Sebastian Maling
General Manager, Dakoko
Global EMBA 2016

There’s no getting away from the fact that studying so many elements of business at this level adds on to your working week. It’s important that you ask yourself how well you can incorporate this programme into your life given the other demands on your time, not just from your daily work but also your family and making time for yourself. A supportive, understanding family is a major source of help because this is by no means a trivial academic pursuit.

 

Xiao Zhi Jian
Zhijian Xiao
BeiGene BioPharma, Head of Quality China Operations
Global EMBA 2016

It helps if you are realistic with yourself and your family about what the daily reality will look like. However, I don’t feel that it should be a cause for worry, because the course is structured very effectively to make things work best for you. It is designed to be flexible and the modular approach gives you that chance to make a course that is going to be as practically useful as possible while still being manageable and, hopefully, a lot of fun.

 

David Moreno
David Moreno Romero
General Manager, Omio Architecture Studio
Global EMBA 2017

The more you put in the more you get back. The opportunities and the resources necessary to learn are all available to you, the question is how can you best utilise them to get everything you want out of the programme? Time management is another crucial factor, but you learn a lot about that through the course.

 

What would you do differently if you could have your time at CEIBS again?

Regardless of their age and stage in life, nobody manages to fully take advantage of every single opportunity that comes their way, so it was insightful to hear what the alumni would do if they could turn back the clock.

 

David Moreno
David Moreno Romero
General Manager, Omio Architecture Studio
Global EMBA 2017

You just don’t realise how many opportunities you have to learn from your peers. There are so many events, ranging from specific industry forums to entirely social meetups and mixers. Practically every day there is something special to catch your eye. Of course, your time is limited, and you can’t do everything, but if I had my time here again, I’d make sure I structured it a little better to take advantage of everything that really interested me.

 

Yan Hai
Jane Yan
R&D Head, Danone
Global EMBA 2018

I’d probably mostly do the same things, just more of them and more frequently! The GEMBA office and faculty are very good at encouraging everybody to join in the community events on offer. There are so many channels to reach out to other students across the programme and the students themselves do much of the organising for events both big and small. I’d also say that this course attracts people with strong personalities, and that makes it easier to connect with people very different to you both personally and professionally.

 

Onur Turkmen
Onur Turkmen
Marketing Director, Beko China
Global EMBA 2016

If I started my GEMBA again I would choose more of the global modules. I didn’t commit to so many of them because I thought that if I wasn’t in the office, everything would fall apart, which of course is not the case. The global modules are the best way to get out there and understand new ways of thinking and doing business. They are also great for helping you make necessary changes to your own way of working.